Friday, January 8, 2010

Favorite Thing Friday: Superhero Music and Book

It goes without saying that Kal-El is a lucky little boy :) The birthday gifts he received from friends and family were so well thought out that it would be impossible to say any particular one is his "favorite."

I haven't done a Favorite Thing Friday for quite some time. My sister claims she "misses them" and we have a couple of new favorite things around here that seem FTF-worthy so I will
resurrect them for a couple weeks. I don't know if my sister will find today's favorite thing very interesting as she is the mom of "token girl." Today's favorite thing is very, very BOY!

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows we have a bit of a Superhero obsession going on over here. I think it all started with the superhero posters we used to decorate our basement playroom.

Recently I threw Kal-El a Superhero birthday party and my gift to him was an amazing collection of superhero music that we played during the party and nearly every day since.
I was inspired by a completely inadequate CD that I saw for sale (and didn't buy) at a Factory Card Outlet for at least $15. I had maybe ten songs on it, all of which were cheesy remakes of the originals that they apparently did not obtain the rights to.

If you have a little boy who is obsessed with superheroes the collection you want is this one:

For less than $10 you can download 37 original superhero theme songs.

Listening to the music again (and again) spawned a lot of questions. "Mommy? Who's Underdog? What does he look like? What does he do? What are his powers? Who does he fight." After a few days Kal-El would borrow the biggest book of mine that he could find and pretend he was "reading about superheroes" as he listened. Kal-El would stare at one page until the song changed then would turn the page and pretend it was describing the next song. He also started remembering surprisingly large amounts of obscure lyrics.

This gave me the idea to make a "part two" for this gift. I offered to make him a flip book with one image to go with each song. He told me that he didn't want it to just have pictures, he explained he was borrowing my big books because he wanted words to tell him lots of things about the superheroes.

As a result, yesterday he and I spent about three hours together making a superhero book to go with his music. It has 37 for each song in the book. I made each page 8.5 X 11 inches to fit in a standard three-ring binder and laminated them. Each page has the superhero's name at the top, a picture, text, then a page number that corresponds to the track number on the CD.

The content of the text varies. If the song had lyrics, I found the lyrics online and put them underneath. If it did not, I used Wikipedia as a starting point for a description of the series and rewrote it using vocabulary more appropriate for a four year-old. We also don't say "kill" or "gun" around here. Most old-school superheroes don't use guns or kill. However, when necessary we instead say something like "he uses his laser to get the bad guy and put him in jail" rather than "he used his gun to kill the bad guys and put them in their graves." Some superheroes like Batman are represented in the collection multiple times. The first time I used a picture of Batman and told his general story. The second time I used a picture that showed a collection of "bad guys" and talked about them. The third time featured music by Danny Elfman so I chose pictures of the characters whose themes were represented in the selection and also added pictures of the instruments that he would hear.

Oddly, superhero music has provided a very important link to music for the boys. Despite a mom who has an unusual gift of remembering lyrics to everything and sings (passably) all the time, music on in the car, music on the stereo in the house, and hearing real instruments played live almost daily the boys have shown nearly no interest. They generally refuse to sing. They tell me to stop singing when I do. They never will dance. They both ask for the music playing to be turned off unless it is purely instrumental. They do like instruments and can identify most instruments by sound when they hear them (Me Too even knows the difference between a violin and cello, an alto sax or a baritone sax). We even held a family "drum circle" over Christmas.

Fortunately the superhero music has led to an interest in singing, both alone and together, and they are doing really well. Now that they are comfortable, I catch them singing other things together (as long as I pretend not to notice) such as "Pop! Goes the Weasel" or "Frost(ing) the Snowman." (They are adamant that his name is FrostING not FrostY.)


  1. Well thanks for bringing FTF back for me. Was the book you made a sucess? It was a creative idea on your part. Auntie R

  2. Hi, I found this post pretty cool even though I only have "princess" girls LOL.
    Anyway, how did you get that library thing on our blog to show what you are reading?
    I can not get it to work for me!
    Hope you are enjoying this new year!

  3. A very creative idea! I remember making ballet story books and tapes for your sister when she was younger.

    I think your niece, Token Girl has inherited the family love of singing and dancing.

    I'll have to learn the superhero songs so that I can sing along with the boys. They'll be happy that I am retiring "John Jacob JingleheimerSchmidt" and "This Is The Song That Never Ends" LOL!

    And how can they possibly do a puzzle without singing?